Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
David H. Bennett
Logistics, Mediterranean, Second World War, Services of Supply, US Army, World War II
From November 1942 until May 1945, the Allied nations fought a series of campaigns across the Mediterranean. Ever since, historians have debated the role and impact of the Mediterranean theater upon the greater war in Europe. Through analysis of official archival documents, unit histories from the period, and personal memoirs, this dissertation investigates the impact of US Army service forces on each of the campaigns and operations conducted across the Mediterranean theater. Additionally, this study examines how the campaigns of the Mediterranean shaped and informed the 1944 landings in France and the subsequent drive into Germany. This dissertation argues that the Normandy invasion of 1944 and victory over Germany did not just happen. The success that the Allied forces enjoyed in France and Germany had its foundation set in the learning and experiences of the Mediterranean that began in November 1942. Additionally, the Allies (particularly the US) would not have achieved victory as quickly as they did if it were not for the development of the administrative and logistical systems, organizations, equipment, and doctrine that occurred within the Mediterranean. Simply put, the Mediterranean was an essential Petri dish that allowed US service units to test new concepts and develop the experience necessary to win the war against Germany. This was the laboratory in which the US military, particularly the support units, could learn and adapt with minimal risk. Considering the alternatives, the Allied strategy of conducting operations in the Mediterranean and then shifting the priority to the European theater proved the approach that produced the shortest end to the war. This indirect approach provided the time to train a conscript army and modernize the military. Most importantly, the US Army learned how to support ground and air forces deployed in an overseas theater.
Dworak, David D., "Victory's Foundation: US Logistical Support of the Allied Mediterranean Campaign, 1942-1945" (2011). History - Dissertations. 95.